Apple is not a local fruit for South Indians

An apple a day keeps the Doctor away…but if the apples are not local then ???better to keep them away! Apples are available all around the year and are considered the safest fruit among all. Apples are neither too sweet nor too sour so they are usually consumed by all age groups,  during illness or disease and through all seasons.

But, the recent trends regarding eating and using only local and seasonal produce  made me question the origin of the abundant apples available to us throughout the year in Andhra Pradesh!

It seems apples were first introduced in India by Muslim emperor Firoz Tughlaq who grew apple trees throughout Delhi neighborhoods during his life from 1309 to 1388. But, the truly tasty sweet apple varieties reached us by efforts of  Samuel Evans Stokes of Philadelphia in the early 1900s which were adapted extensively by the farmers of Himachal Pradesh.

Availability of Apples in India:

Only northern parts of India , especially Kashmir experiences cold weather and crisp, chilly air essential for apples to thrive. Jammu and kashmir are the highest producer of apples (80% of the total production), followed by Himachal Pradesh at number two accounting for 12.5%. States such as Uttarakhand contribute 5% and most others such as Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Nagaland, and the colder hill stations of Tamil Nadu have negligible production

Common apple varieties grown in India include:

  1. Red delicious: a mid-season apple grown in Himachal Pradesh. This variant, along with Royal Delicious, are the most widely grown types in India.
  2. Golden delicious: a late-season cultivar grown in Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh.
  3. McIntosh: A reddish pink apple with a golden blush grown in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
  4. Chaubattia Anupam: A red and yellow-striped apple grown in Uttar Pradesh
  5. Lal Ambri: A reddish yellow apple grown in Jammu and Kashmir.

Some exotic (often imported) varieties are as follows:

  1. Fuji
  2. Royal Gala (from New Zealand)
  3. Washington Red: American variety
  4. Granny Smith: American variety
  5. Chilean

When to find apples in India:

The peak apple season is between August through September also known as the fall period. Some varieties from Uttaranchal appear during the late summer months, and the Jammu and Kashmir’s apple season may stretch into late November.

During off season you can still find apples in the markets as India imports apples from the US, China, Chile, New Zealand, and Italy. These imported apples seem to have a very artificial sweetness and mealy texture mainly because they travel over very long distances, are plucked early and then treated with gases to prevent their decay during the long transport.

In the Southern parts of India, apples are not of good quality and are expensive because they are not grown locally. Efforts are ongoing to produce low-chilling varieties of apples in Telangana. Kendre Balaji, a local farmer in the hills of north Telangana, is growing 150 plants, a mixture of all varieties, using organic cultivation methods which improve the nutritional value of his soil. His plants have shown excellent growth, including flowering and fruiting.

We suggest you wait for the right season to eat apples and look out for local varieties. foods grown locally and seasonally are best suited for our body at that given time.


Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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